All over America there are people living in a state of mixed emotions: equal parts of anticipation and dread. They are awaiting the arrival of the painters. This is the year to paint the inside of the house.
Just the idea of taking down the drapes, covering the furniture and putting away all the breakables has caused many a homemaker to put off the monumental endeavor for as long as possible. The final decision to paint usually occurs in relation to some other impending family event. A marriage coming up, perhaps? Everything must be ready to meet inspection by the prospective in-laws. Or the recent purchase of new furniture? A freshly painted room is definitely needed. Often, the impetus comes from having the outside of the house painted. The contrast of walking through the front door is too extreme. (The painters knew that all along.)
Whatever the catalyst, the day of reckoning is approaching for these people. To meet their needs and lower the rising levels of anxiety and tension, the following Survival Guide is offered. Consider the three options:
l. Do It Yourself . Painting the inside of a house is not as scary as it appears. Plan the task in steps. The local paint store will supply the basic brushes, pans, rollers and advice as well as the paint. Choose water base paint rather than oil. Buy a putty knife and some putty for patching cracks and holes. Choose your colors. Put on old clothes and begin. Take one room at a time. Do the walls and ceiling first; then tackle the woodwork. Call the paint store if you need help with problem areas. The main advantages of this option of course are the dollar savings for labor and the absence of strangers who seem to take over your house as they work.
If the Do-it-yourself route is not for you:
2. Leave The House during the painting. Does this sound radical and somewhat risky? You’re right on the first count, but not on the second. Here’s how it works: Plan a business trip. Take a vacation. Visit relatives. Find a reason to be somewhere else while painters occupy your house. It is a given that you choose a painter whom you researched and trust completely whether you are at home or away. Certain painters specialize in the away type of assignment and have references for you to call. They are professionals.
Before you leave, store all the breakables and valuables in closets, someone else’s home or the vault at the bank. Cover furniture and chandeliers with old sheets. Fold up the rugs or send them out to be cleaned. The timing is perfect to coordinate that job as well. Take down drapes and store away. Put your plants in a safe place. If you choose option 3 below and stay home, follow the above plan to protect all valuables: paintings, statues, lamps, crystal . Give the painter a key and try not to worry.
3. Stay home while the painting takes place. Most people choose this option. It is important to meet the boss and each worker when they first arrive. Shake hands and learn their names. Offer refrigerator space if they bring lunches and drinks. Treat them with respect. As the job progresses, make positive comments. “The red door looks great!” “What a difference the paint makes on the woodwork.” “You really do careful, beautiful work.” Painters are people. They appreciate hearing that you like the job they are doing. If, on the other hand, you are not happy with the results, talk to the boss and tell him what you want changed. You may find that he is more demanding of his helpers than you are.
4. Don’t take out the nails that hold up your pictures. This may sound like obvious advice. Not necessarily. There are folks who take out all the nails, putty over the holes and then paint to make the wall perfect. Then, they have to start from zero and figure out exactly where they want to re-hang all the pictures. “ Just h old the picture a little to the right. Higher…higher. O.K. That’s it.” Whew!
5. Take photographs of arrangements of bric-a-brac, books, pictures and other decorative views you want to keep as is. Don’t strain your memory to put the plants back as they were or the stemware in the etagere. Having the photos makes it a simple exercise.
6. Cover the clothes inside the closets with sheets. This may seem over-protective. But the painters will cover them with their own ubiquitous spattered drop-cloths when they paint the inside of the closet doors. Some clothes are both personal and fragile. You will probably want to do this yourself.
7. Ask the painter to mix a drop of vanilla into the paint. This fascinating maneuver will cut down the lingering odors. Unless you have an aversion to vanilla, it solves the age old problem for allergy and sinus sufferers.
8. Expect noise, disruption and upset. The less you watch, the better. As soon as a room is completed, put the furniture back and re-hang the drapes. Keep the vacuum cleaner handy.
Many painters like to work with high decibel music or radio in the background. If this bothers you, suggest a lower range, close your door and remember things will be back to normal in a few days.
9. Keep your mind focused on the end results. Day-by-day progress may appear slow. “Are they still in the kitchen? We’ll have to go out for dinner.” However, most painters will finish in the estimated time period. As professionals, they have to plan their jobs and their schedules.
10. Have a written contract. When the job is completed to your satisfaction, pay the bill. Then walk through the front door, look around slowly and enjoy. You’re all done!
Until next time….